Professor: Samantha Hopkins
A great deal of recent controversy has centered on the teaching of evolution. Why is this topic so controversial? What is the evidence for evolution? How does it work? Does a belief in evolution necessitate a religious outlook? We will address these questions and more, focusing on the science of evolution and how it informs us about the scientific process in general. We will consider evolution from the perspectives of molecular biology, ecology, paleontology, microbiology, and geology. Along the way, we'll learn something about the role of controversy in advancing scientific knowledge and the role politics plays in the advance of science, and that science plays in public life. Assignments will include readings historical, popular and scientific, as well as weekly lab exercises. Students will be graded on the basis of exams, in class discussions, lab assignments, and a short term paper.